ICS Calendar Title: Biblical Foundations

ICS Course Code: ICS 1108AC/2108AC F18

Instructor: Dr. Nik Ansell

Term and Year: Mondays, 1:45pm - 4:45pm, Fall 2018

Location: ICS Boardroom, Knox College

Last Updated: August 13, 2018. Note: This is not the final version.


1. Course Description

2. Course Learning Goals

3. Course Requirements

4. Required Readings and Schedule

(arranged by session and in suggested order)

5. Some Recommended Readings

1. Course Description

This course will explore the Bible as the ongoing story of and for God and creation, paying special attention to the way in which God's story is intertwined with that of humanity and the world. In asking whether and in what way the biblical narrative finds its future in our ongoing narratives, we will attempt to identify which hermeneutical methods might help us discern its significance for present day life, including the academic enterprise. To that end, we shall pay close attention to the shape of gender symbolism in the biblical writings, together with the nature of power and the call of and to Wisdom.

2. Course Learning Goals

a.) To become (more) familiar with the Bible read and interpreted as an ongoing story of/for God and creation, creation and God

b.) To increase our ability to think creatively and constructively about the relationship between the biblical text, academic reflection, and contemporary discernment

c.) To deepen knowledge and awareness of key hermeneutical issues relevant to biblical interpretation

3. Course Requirements

a.) Total reading: 1250 pages total, including research for paper, of which approximately 40-70 pages per week is required to prepare for session.

b.) In-seminar leadership: Presentation of draft of course paper, leadership in discussion of readings, including written assignments

c.) Description of course paper: MA 4,000-5,000-word, PhD: 5,000-7,000-word, exegetical study of a biblical passage, book, theme or topic that assesses rival interpretations, relates to something of academic significance to you, and engages issues raised throughout the course. Due by relevant ICS/TST deadline.

d.) Description and weighting of elements to be evaluated:

Class participation: 20% [TST 25%]

Written class assignments: 20% [TST 25%]

Research paper: 60% [TST 50%]

4. Required Readings and Schedule

(arranged by session and in suggested order)

Titles in bold and underlined refer to books of the Bible.

Please use a good contemporary translation (NRSV, NIV, tNIV, NJB, etc.) rather than a paraphrase such as the New Living or The Message, though these are good for comparison.

If you wish to compare translations at any point, there are good online resources such as:



There are no texts that you have to obtain. But if you are unfamiliar with the basic sweep (or large parts) of the Bible, a text in the supplementary readings section such as:Anderson, Bartholomew/Goheen, Beale, Brueggemann, or Drane is highly recommended.

Session 1: Introductions

Session 2:

J. Richard Middleton, “A New Heaven and a New Earth: the Case for a Holistic Reading of the Biblical Story of Redemption,” Journal for Christian Theological Research 11 (2006): 73-97. Available online at: http://www.ctrf.t15.org/JCTR/Vol11/Middleton_vol11.pdf

Nicholas Ansell, “On (Not) Obeying the Sabbath: Reading Jesus Reading Scripture,” Horizons in Biblical Theology 33/2 (Fall 2011): 97–120 [available electronically through University of Toronto Libraries]

Session 3:


Al Wolters, “Thoughts On Genesis,” Calvinist Contact (14 December, 1990): 4

Crispin Fletcher-Louis, “Commentary: Genesis 1.26 and Exodus 20:4f,” Third Way (December 1999): 21 [available in the ICS Library periodical collection]

Crispin Fletcher-Louis, “Commentary: Genesis 1.26 and Ephesians 1:22,” Third Way (January 2000): 21 [available in the ICS Library periodical collection]

Nik Ansell, “Commentary: Genesis 1.27f, Daniel 2:35 and Ephesians 1:22f,” Third Way (February 2002): 24 [available in the ICS Library periodical collection]

David Smith, “Commentary: Genesis 11.1-9,” Third Way (May 1999): 20 [available in the ICS Library periodical collection]

Nik Ansell, “Genesis 18:16–33: A Covenantal Rereading” (unpublished paper)

Session 4:

Nicholas Ansell, The Annihilation of Hell: Universal Salvation and the Redemption of Time in the Eschatology of Jürgen Moltmann (Milton Keynes, UK: Paternoster Press, 2013), 353–59 [on Gen 32] [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BT821.3 .A67 2013]

Nicholas Ansell, “The Call of Wisdom/The Voice of the Serpent: a Canonical Approach to the Tree of Knowledge,” Christian Scholar's Review, 31/1 (Fall 2001): 31-58 [available in the ICS Library periodical collection]

Session 5:


Nik Ansell, “Commentary: Exodus 19:5-6,” Third Way (November 2002): 22 [available in the ICS Library periodical collection]

John H. Sailhamer, “Appendix B: Compositional Strategies in the Pentateuch” in idem., Introduction to Old Testament Theology: a Canonical Approach (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1995), 272-289 [Robarts Library: BS1192.5 .S23 1995X]

Session 6:


Nicholas Ansell, “ ‘If Her Father Had but Spit in Her Face’: Rethinking the Portrayal of Miriam in Numbers 12,” Canadian Theological Review vol. 3, no. 2 (2014 [ = cover date; actual publication date, February 2016]), 28–51 [Trinity College Periodical Stacks]

[Reading Week: Oct. 23-27]

Session 7:

Judges 19–21; 1 Samuel 8–12; 2 Samuel 11–13; Proverbs 1–10

Nicholas Ansell, “This Is Her Body . . . : Judges 19 as Call to Discernment” in Tamar’s Tears: Evangelical Engagements with Feminist Old Testament Hermeneutics, ed. Andrew Sloane (Eugene, OR: Pickwick, 2011), 112–70  [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BS1199 .W7 T36 2012].

Calvin Seerveld, “Proverbs 10:1-22: From Poetic Paragraphs to Preaching” in Reading and Hearing the Word: From Text to Sermon. Essays in Honor of John H. Stek, ed. Arie C. Leder (Grand Rapids: Calvin Theological Seminary/CRC Publications, 1998), 181-200 [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BV15 .R43 1998]

Session 8:


Richard Bauckham, “The Book of Ruth as a Key to Gynocentric Reading of Scripture,” in Bauckham, Gospel Women: Studies of the Named Women in the Gospels (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2002), 1–16 [available at multiple UTL locations, including Knox College, Trinity College and St. Michael’s College]

Marion Ann Taylor, “The Gospel of Ruth: An Evangelical Feminist Reading,” Canadian Theological Review vol. 3, no. 2 (2014 [ = February 2016]), 1–12 [Trinity College Periodical Stacks]

Session 9:

Lamentations; Jonah

Session 10:


Crispin Fletcher-Louis, “Commentary: Mark 13.24f and 30f,” Third Way (September 1998): 20

“(Some of the) OT Allusions/Echoes/Quotations in Mark 13” [available in the ICS Library periodical collection]

Session 11:


Session 12:


Nicholas Ansell, “For the Love of Wisdom: Scripture, Philosophy, and the Relativisation of Order,” in The Future of Creation Order: Philosophical, Scientific, and Religious Perspectives on Order and Emergence, vol. 1:  Philosophy, Sciences, and Theology. New Approaches to the Scientific Study of Religion, ed. Gerrit Glas and Jeroen de Ridder (Dordrecht: Springer, in press), chap. 12, 209–35. [ICS Library Reserve Shelf]

Sessions 13

Nik Ansell, “Hell: the Nemesis of Hope?” in Her Gates Will Never Be Shut: Hell, Hope & the New Jerusalem, by Bradley Jersak (Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2009), 191-210 [ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BT836.3 J47 2009]

Student Presentations

5. Some Recommended Readings

*Note: Items on the ICS Library Reserve Shelf from this list may be borrowed for 5 days.

(a small selection from numerous possibilities!)

If recommending substantial yet not over-technical commentaries, I would begin with:

The Berit Olam series [OT/Hebrew Bible] (The Liturgical Press)

The Interpretation series (John Knox Press)

The New International Biblical Commentary series (Hendrickson)

The New Interpreter's Bible [12 volumes] (Abingdon Press)

The Smyth & Helwys series (Smyth and Helwys)

The Tyndale series (Eerdmans)

The Westminster Bible Companion series (Westminster/John Knox Press)

In addition to the three contrastable “Study Bibles” (edited by Barker, Harrelson and Meeks, respectively) in the following list, single volume Bible commentaries include: The New Bible Commentary (IVP), The New Jerome Biblical Commentary (Prentice-Hall) and Harper's Bible Commentary (Harper and Row)

Bernard W. Anderson, The Unfolding Drama of the Bible. Third Edition (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1988). [ICS Library, Knox College Caven Library, Regis College: BS605.2 .A5 1988]

Nicholas Ansell, “Appendix: Birthpangs of the New Creation” [on the book of Revelation] in The Annihilation of Hell: Universal Salvation and the Redemption of Time in the Eschatology of Jürgen Moltmann (Milton Keynes, UK: Paternoster Press, 2013), 391–423. [ICS Library, Victoria Universtiy Emmanuel College: BT821.3 .A67 2013. Knox College Caven Library has a 2005 edition: BT821.3 .A67 2005]

Nik Ansell, “Commentary: Genesis 22,” Third Way (April 2004): 16. [Trinity College Periodical Stacks]

together with: Paul Borgman, Genesis: the Story We Haven't Heard (Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press, 2001), 112 [ICS Library: BS1235.2 .B584 2001; Trinity College: BS1235.2 .B584 2001 TRIN WYC]

Nik Ansell, “Commentary: Genesis 11.4 and 22.15-17a,” Third Way (Summer 2004): 15. [Trinity College Periodical Stacks]

Kenneth L. Barker, Gen. ed., The NIV Study Bible. Revised edition (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2002).

Craig Bartholomew and Michael Goheen, The Drama of Scripture: Finding Our Place in the Biblical Story (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2004) [ICS Library, Knox College Caven Library, Trinity College: BS635.3 .B37 2004]

Craig Bartholomew, Colin Greene and Karl Moller, eds., Renewing Biblical Interpretation (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2000). [ICS Library, Knox College Caven Library, Trinity College: BS476 .R45 2000]

Richard Bauckham, God and the Crisis of Freedom: Biblical and Contemporary Perspectives (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2002)  [ICS Library, Knox College Caven Library, Regis College: BT810.3 .B38 2002]

_____, “Reading Scripture as a Coherent Story” in Ellen F. Davis and Richard B. Hayes, ed., The Art of Reading Scripture (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2003), 38-53 [Robarts Library: BS476 .A78 2003X; Trinity College: BS476 .A76 2003]

G. K. Beale, The Temple and the Church’s Mission: A Biblical Theology of the Dwelling Place of God (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2004), chaps. 1–2 (pp. 23–80) [ICS Library, Trinity College: BS680 .T4 B42 2004; Robarts Library: BS680 .T4 B42 2004X]

Walter Brueggemann, The Land: Place as Gift, Promise, and Challenge in Biblical Faith. Second edition (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2002). [ICS Library: BS543 .B78 2002; Knox College Caven Library: BS543 .B68 2002; Robarts Library: BS543 .B68 2002X]

John W. Drane, Introducing the New Testament. Third edition ((Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2010); Revised [=Second] edition (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2001). [Trinity College, Victoria University Emmanuel College: BS2330.2 .D7 2001]

_____, Introducing the Old Testament. Third edition ((Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2011); Revised [=second] edition (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2001) [St. Michael’s College: BS1140.3 .D73 2001. There are 2011 editions at Trinity College and Victoria University Emmanuel College]

Douglas S. Earl, The Joshua Delusion? Rethinking Genocide in the Bible (Eugene, OR: 2010) [ICS Library: BS 1295.52 .E27 2010; Robarts Library: BS 1295.52 .E265 2010X]

David N. Freedman, ed., Anchor Bible Dictionary, vols. 1-6 (New York: Doubleday, 1992). [ICS Library: BS440 .A53 v.1-6; Knox College Reference collection; Regis College]

Terence E. Fretheim, God and World in the Old Testament: a Relational Theology of Creation (Nashville, TH: Abingdon, 2005) [ICS Library, Knox College Caven Library, Regis College, Robarts: BS1199 .C73 F74 2005]

_____, The Suffering of God: an Old Testament Perspective (Philadelphia, PA: Fortress Press, 1984) [ICS Library, Knox College Caven Library, Regis College, Robarts: BS1199 .S82 F74 1984]

Norman G. Gottwald and Richard A. Horsley eds., The Bible and Liberation: Political and Social Hermeneutics. Revised edition (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 2002) [Robarts Library, Knox College Caven Library, Trinity College (1993 ed.): BS476 .B49 1993]

Robert M. Grant with David Tracy, A Short History of the Interpretation of the Bible. Second edition, revised and enlarged (Philadelphia, PA: Fortress, 1984) [Knox College Caven Library, Robarts Library, Trinity College: BS500 .G73 1984]

Stanley N. Gundry, ed., Show Them No Mercy: Four Views on God and Canaanite Genocide (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2003. [ICS Library: BS 680 .W2 S49 2003; St. Micheal’s College: BS680 .W2 S48 2003 SMC]

Walter J. Harrelson, ed., The New Interpreter's Study Bible: New Revised Standard Version. Revised version (Nashville, TN: Abingdon, 2003) [Trinity College, Victoria University Emmanuel College: BS191.5 .A1 2003 .N49 2003]

Hendrik Hart, Setting Our Sights by the Morning Star: Reflections on the Role of the Bible in Postmodern Times (Toronto: Patmos Press, 1989) [ICS Library: BS538.3 .H377; St. Augustine’s Seminary: BS538.3 .H37 1989; St. Michael’s College: BS538.3 .H37 1989 SMC]

Yoram Hazony, The Philosophy of Hebrew Scripture (Cambridge University Press, 2011) [ICS Library: ICS Library: BS1186 .H39 2012; Robarts: BS1186 .H39 2012X]

J. Gordon McConville and Stephen N. Williams, Joshua. The Two Horizons Old Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2010) [ICS Library, St. Augustine’s Seminary, Victoria University Emmanuel College: BS1295 .53 .M43 2010]

Wayne A. Meeks, Gen. ed., The HarperCollins Study Bible: New Revised Standard Version with the Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical Books (San Francisco, CA: HarperCollins, 1993) [Knox College Caven Library, McKay Resource Centre: BS191.5 .A1 1993 .N48; St. Michael’s College: BS191.5 .A1 1993 N48 SMC]

J. Richard Middleton, The Liberating Image: the Imago Dei in Genesis 1 (Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos, 2005) [ICS Library: BS661 .M49 2005; Knox College Caven Library, Regis College: BS1238 .I42 M53 2005]

_____, New Heavens and New Earth: Reclaiming Biblical Eschatology (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2014) [Regis College, Victoria University Emmanuel College: BT821.3 .M53 2014]

Ched Myers and Elaine Enns, Ambassadors of Reconciliation, volume 1: New Testament Reflections on Restorative Justice and Peacemaking (New York: Maryknoll: Orbis, 2009) [ICS Library, Knox College Caven Library: BS2545 .J8 M94 2009 v.1; Robarts: BS2545 .J8 M94 2009X v.1]

James H. Olthuis, et al., A Hermeneutics of Ultimacy: Peril or Promise? (Lanham: University Press of America, 1987). [ICS Library: BS476 .O54; Knox College Caven Library, Robarts: BS476 .O54 1987]

Mike Riddell, God's Home-Page: a Journey Through the Bible for Postmodern Pilgrims (Oxford: The Bible Reading Fellowship, 1998)

Calvin G. Seerveld, How to Read the Bible to Hear God Speak: a Study in Numbers 22-24 (Sioux Center, IA: Dordt College Press, 2003), xi-xiii. [ICS Library, Knox College Caven Library: BS580 .S44 2003]

Calvin G. Seerveld, The Greatest Song: in Critique of Solomon (Toronto: Tuppence Press, 1963) [ICS Library: BS1490 .S4 1967; St. Michael’s College: M2018 .L64 G7 1967 SMC]

Willard M. Swartley, Slavery, Sabbath, War & Women: Case Issues in Biblical Interpretation (Scottdale, PA: Herald Press, 1983). [ICS Library, Knox College Caven Library, Robarts: BS670 .S93 1983]

Heath A. Thomas, Jeremy Evans, and Paul Copan, eds., Holy War in the Bible: Christian Morality and an Old Testament Problem (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic 2013)  [ICS Library: BS 680 .W2 H65 2013; Regis College. Trinity College: BS 680 .W2 H65 2013]

Phyllis Trible, God and the Rhetoric of Sexuality (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1978) [ICS Library, Knox College Caven Library, Robarts: BS1171.2 .T74]

Kevin J. Vanhoozer et. al., eds. Theological Interpretation of the New Testament: a Book-by-Book Survey (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 2008) [Trinity College, Victoria Univeristy Emmanuel College: BS2397 .T43 2008]

______, et al., eds. Theological Interpretation of the Old Testament: a Book-by-Book Survey (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 2008) [Robarts Library: BS1171.3 .T493 2008X; Trinity College, Victoria University Emmanuel College: BS1171.3 .T493 2008]

Al Wolters, “No Longer Queen: the Theological Disciplines and Their Sisters” in Jeffrey, David Lyle and C. Stephen Evans (eds.). The Bible and the university. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2007, 79. [ICS Library: BS538.7 .B575 2007]

Christopher J.H. Wright, Old Testament Ethics for the People of God (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2004) [ICS Library: BS1199 .E8 W77 2004; Knox College Caven Library, Regis College: BS1199 .E8 W75 2004]

N.T. Wright, Paul: in Fresh Perspective (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2005). [Regis College, Victoria University Emmanuel College: BS2651 .W748 2005; There are 2009 editions at ICS Library, Knox College Caven Library: BS2651 .W748 2009]

______, The Last Word: Beyond the Bible Wars to a New Understanding of the Authority of Scripture (New York: HarperCollins, 2005) [ICS Library, Knox College Caven Library, Trinity College: BS480 .W83 2005]

______, The New Testament and the People of God: Christian Origins and the Question of God, volume 1 (London: SPCK; Philadelphia: Fortress, 1992) [ICS Library: BS2398 .W75 N4 v.1]

John Howard Yoder, The Politics of Jesus: Vicit Agnus Noster. Second edition. (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1994) [ICS Library: 1st ed. BT202 .Y63; 2nd ed. Robarts Library: BT202 .Y63 1994]

Students with diverse learning styles and needs are welcome in this course. In particular, if you have a disability/health consideration that may require accommodations, please feel free to approach me and/or Student Services as soon as possible.

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